Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leading Economic Indexes Point to Future Growth

The Conference Board reported today that its Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased in February for the 23rd consecutive month (see chart above).  February's LEI, at 113.4, was 0.8% above January's index level, and follows a 0.1% increase in January, a 1.0% increase in December, and monthly increases in every month back to April 2009.

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “With February’s large gain, the U.S. LEI returned to the strengthening upward trend that began last September. The LEI is pointing to an economic expansion that should gain more momentum in the coming months. In February, improvements in labor markets, financial components, and consumer expectations more than offset falling housing permits.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “Latest data point to an improving economy, one that will continue to gain strength through the summer. The economy continues to encounter strong headwinds. One headwind is the sharp rise in food and energy prices. Still, the way inflation will move is unclear, given the degree of slack in the overall economy, and especially in the labor market.”

MP: The increase in the U.S. LEI for February follows recent reports from the Conference Board that the January LEI increased in Spain (0.9%),  China (0.3%), U.K. (0.4%), Korea (1.3%), and Japan (1.3%). 


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